What is Sine Die?
In those instances where carry-over doesn’t occur—the end of an annual session or the end of a biennium—all bills that did not reach a status of Passed Second Chamber, Enacted, Vetoed, or Failed are considered “Sine Die - Failed”. That is, since the legislature has adjourned “without day”, there is no opportunity for further activity to occur on that bill, and it is effectively “Failed”.
Why is a bill Sine Die - Failed?
Many bills and resolutions do not complete all the stages of activity necessary for enactment. Perhaps a bill remained in committee for the entire session. Or maybe a bill passed one chamber without adequate time to receive a vote in the other chamber of a bicameral legislature. Whatever the reason, many bills simply lose the momentum needed to carry them through the entire legislative process.
These bills that are stuck in the legislative process therefore lack an explicit indication of failure, such as a governor’s veto or vote-down in a chamber. Legislatures interpret bills that cannot complete the legislative process prior to the end of session as bills that failed by Sine Die, or Sine Die - Failed. In other words, these bills did not achieve the necessary approval of the legislature within the time allotted for legislative activity.
Determining bill status can be challenging because legislatures do not adhere to a uniform standard for recording bills as Sine Die - Failed. Some legislatures explicitly indicate that a bill is Sine Die - Failed, while others do not. FiscalNote provides a convenient, standardized record of bill status by applying logic and analysis to the bill’s publicly reported history in order to infer a Sine Die - Failed status.
Why isn’t a bill Sine Die - Failed when I expect it to be in that status?
A bill should complete a legislative session in one of three possible statuses: Enacted, Failed, or Sine Die - Failed. The first two statuses apply to bills that either explicitly succeeded or failed during a session, and the last status applies to bills that lost momentum during the legislative process. Not all states explicitly report Sine Die - Failed status, so FiscalNote can interpret bill status based off of the legislative activity reported by states.
It is possible that a state may not provide enough information for FiscalNote to definitively apply Sine Die - Failed to a bill. For example, many states allow a governor to take no action on a bill after it passes the legislature; sometimes this event is classified as a pocket veto while in other cases the bill gets enacted automatically. If the state lacks a system to report these procedures, FiscalNote maintains the last-reported or interpreted status until the state government updates their record of the bill. The accuracy of bill status ultimately depends on the information that FiscalNote is able to obtain from publicly-available sources.